My attempt to document 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Spring 2011.

Sunrise 147: Ault Park (Layered Magenta Cloud Cover)

Sunrise 147 @ Ault Park

When I peered out the window at 6:20am, I couldn’t tell what the sky was doing. In my mind, I played with the idea of going back to bed but before committing I checked out the front door. High in the atmosphere there was a thick cloud layer that was making the eastern sky particularly dark, but it broke in the center of the sky to reveal a dark clear sky that was beginning to take on a subtle early twilight teal. I figured that it was worth the game and headed up to the park to see what the pseudo-spring morning had in store.

The temperature this morning was pleasant. Hanging slightly above freezing, it felt like spring with two sweatshirts on and insulated athletic pants. Looking out across the valley, the breaking cloud formation stood proudly in the distant left/north region of the sky. To my direct front, the cloud layer was thick but broke just above the horizon, revealing a deep gray-fading-to-orange sky beyond the far ridge line. At first, I wasn’t sure if any colors would get through the morning clouds. If only a sudden change in the western wind would slide the cloud break back over to the east a few miles…

But then I checked the time and realized it was 7:08am, a full 20 minutes before sunrise. There was still time for something interesting to happen. As it turns out, I only had to wait 5 more minutes…

Needless to say, the gamble paid off.

This is Mike the Turtle. His eyes are striped, matching his skin pattern. He loves romaine lettuce, hates iceburg. Likes chasing fish, does not like stawberries (unlike most other turtles who love them). When he’s basking in the sun he gets lethargic, likely giving into the life-giving warmth that only a cold-blooded animal could appreciate.

Coming into the park, I can see that the northern sky has broken and is reflecting some early twilight colors. But the eastern sky is dark and gloomy.

A plane takes off during mid twilight against a dark, gloomy, but hopeful cloud bank.

For the rest of this post, 12 pictures total, click to continue if you’re on the front page. 

Behind the cloud layer we can see the atmosphere beginning to light up.

Suddenly, and I do mean out of no where, there is this bright pink pulse that shines out from the thin opening under the cloud bank at the horizon. What has happened is that the first rays of sunlight are bending around the curvature of the atmosphere, under the break in the clouds, and reflecting against the bottom of the cloud layer.

Over the next 7 minutes I watched as this wave of magenta grew from a small kernel of pink into a pool of fuchsia.  It was fascinating… I watched it move across the sky and intensify before fading back into dawn orange.

This picture, blurry and “yellow”, does no justice to the deep colors that were illuminating from the horizon. This was one of the few rare sunrises where the colors are so bright that my camera’s sensor has a hard time picking them up accurately. That yellow is actually a soft shade of fuchsia.

The magenta wave’s influence grew as it spread throughout the sky under the dynamic dark clouds whose high atmospheric background was beginning to shine brightly through the cracks.

By backing up a bit i can get a little bit more of the pink color without the yellow sensor saturation. At this point the fuchsia wave is starting to collapse as the sun rises up into the atmosphere, blocked by the cloud layer.

Heekin Overlook

As the sunrise colors fade back into orange, a plane lands at Lunken Airfield.

On the way back I swung through the local Bigg’s parking lot. I often find that these large parking lots provide excellent views of the sky due to the low horizon in all directions. Behind me, the sun has started to peak over the thinning cloud layer, and is now illuminating the tops of the clouds.

2 responses

  1. Dawn

    Wow!! Haven’t seen one quite like this before….reflections under the clouds. Really cool!!

    February 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    • Thanks Dawn! I bet we’ll see some more strange ones as this weather progresses into spring.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm

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